Bad weather, murky water and strong currents have been hampering the search for survivors of the South Korean ferry disaster as loved ones and anxious relatives offer prayers for the safe return of their loved ones.
Emergency services are still searching for nearly 300 people missing after a ship carrying more than 470 people sank.
Officials say 179 people have been rescued. Most of the passengers were pupils at the same high school.
The captain of the sunken South Korean ferry apologized to families of the victims and those missing on Thursday (April 17) as the coast guard investigates him. The ferry sank off South Korea’s southwest coast on Wednesday, leaving at least nine dead and about 290 missing
Witnesses told Korean media that the captain of the vessel, who is now being held by police, was one of the first to leave the stricken vessel.
The vessel, carrying 475 passengers and crew, capsized during a journey from the northwestern port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju. It went down about 20 km off the country’s southwestern coast.
Meanwhile, South Korean President, Park Geun-Hye, visited the site of the accident as coast guards continue search operations for about 290 missing people.
In the video, Park observed search operations on a boat and was briefed by a coast guard officer.
Rescuers fought rising winds and waves as they searched for hundreds of people, mostly teenage schoolchildren, still missing.
Frustrated parents of some of the missing school children are, however, hiring their own boats and divers to find survivors. Others jeer at coastguard officials asking why they’re not out searching for the missing passengers.
So far 179 people have been rescued and nine confirmed dead in what could be the country’s worst maritime accident in 20 years.
It is not known why the 6,586 ton vessel, built in Japan 20 years ago, sank.